Isador Oglesby, 82, teacher and tenorIsador Oglesby, a...

April 28, 1996

Isador Oglesby, 82, teacher and tenor

Isador Oglesby, a retired city schoolteacher and tenor soloist whose rich voice on Negro spirituals thrilled Baltimore area audiences for nearly four decades, died Thursday of cancer in his St. Paul Street apartment. He was 82.

Mr. Oglesby studied under many nationally and internationally known musical scholars -- including Igor Chichagov, the conductor and vocal coach for Metropolitan Opera Company star Rosa Ponselle -- and recorded three albums detailing "the Negro experience," his daughter, Jerilyn Manning, said.

"His voice was like a male angel singing," Mrs. Manning said. "It's [his death] a loss to the community because I haven't heard of anyone else picking up what he did."

Known as "Mr. O," he last performed three years ago at the Eubie Blake Cultural Center on Charles Street. He was accompanied on the piano by Norman E. Ross.

"He took a very serious approach to music, especially the Negro spiritual," Mr. Ross said. "He had a strong tenor voice that was very amenable to recital singing.

"The music world will miss his knowledgeable singing and interpretation of the Negro folk song."

Born in Ashville, N.C., he received an undergraduate degree from Hampton University and a master's degree from the University of Iowa.

He moved to Baltimore in 1947 after accepting a position as business instructor at what was then called Morgan State College. He later taught business courses in the city school system at Frederick Douglass and Southern high schools until he retired in 1977.

He also was a part-time evening instructor at the Community College of Baltimore.

While teaching at Southern High, he received a service award from the American Lung Association of Maryland for the "Post-A-Card-For-Health" campaign he began. The program involved students purchasing Christmas seals for a penny and giving them to other students in the school.

As a result of his campaign, Southern High donated $236 to the American Lung Association.

Mr. Ross, who began performing with Mr. Oglesby in the late 1950s while both were teachers at Douglass High, said his partner had a presence that captivated audiences.

"There was no male singer like him," Mr. Ross said. "He treated the Negro spiritual the same as he treated a Schubert."

In addition to Mrs. Manning, Mr. Oglesby is survived by three grandchildren, all of Baltimore.

Services are scheduled for 11: 30 a.m. tomorrow at Union Baptist Church, 1219 Druid Hill Ave.

Johanna W. DePasquale, 91, started floral business

Johanna Wilhelmina DePasquale, whose 64-year-old Baltimore floral business continues today, died of heart failure April 11 at home. She was 91.

Born Johanna Guttenson in Baltimore in 1904, she was a lifelong city resident and a 1923 graduate of Eastern High School. She studied voice at the Peabody Conservatory, and performed professionally in operas and at churches throughout the city. She was a soloist at Emmanuel Episcopal Church on Cathedral Street during the late 1920s.

She was married 50 years to Felice DePasquale, a barber and musician who died in 1984.

She launched DePasquale Florists in 1932, working out of her family's house on Old Harford Road and providing arrangements for dinner parties, weddings and community events.

"She kept at it, out of sheer perseverance," said her sister, Hazel G. McCurdy of Riderwood. After Mrs. DePasquale retired, she continued to pitch in while responsibility for the business passed to her daughter, Jeanne L. Sternal of Baltimore.

In addition to her sister and daughter, she is survived by a son, Joseph F. DePasquale of Parkville; three grandchildren and three great-grandchildren.

The funeral was held April 15.

Pub Date: 4/28/96

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